News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 07/13/2009
Subject :

President Obama Writes to Palo Alto Kids
Contact : Maya Spector    650-463-4962

Palo Alto, CA – The Children’s Library was pleased to receive a letter and autographed picture from President Obama in response to the Dear Mr. President Writing Contest, a program developed by Cheryl Lee, a librarian at the Children’s Library. The contest was held in November 2008, when 48 enthusiastic kids, in grades K-5, wrote letters to the incoming President stating what they thought the President should do during his four-year term.

Lavanya Mahadevan, the winner of the contest wrote in her letter to the President, "In Kindergarten I learned that you resolve conflicts by talking it out. Even the big bully on the playground doesn’t have the right to violate other people’s feelings when we invaded Iraq. [sic] I felt like America had turned into the big bully on the playground… I have more ideas and you can contact me through my local library. Remember I’m just a phone call or email away." Many kids echoed the thoughts of Lavanya’s letter.

"The kids kept asking me if I was going to send the letters to the new president, and of course I did," said Ms. Lee. The letters were sent on President Obama’s first day in the White House on January 20, 2009.

The 48 kids patiently waited for President Obama’s response. When an envelope addressed to "The Students of the Palo Alto City Library" arrived, Library staff immediately e-mailed all the contest participants to let them know that they had received a letter from the President. The letter thanked the kids for their kind words and for sharing their thoughts with him. The President said, "With your help, we will renew our nation’s promise to carry forth the great gift of freedom to future generations…"

The autographed picture and letter are prominently displayed in the glass case in front of the Children’s Library. For more information about the Children’s Library, please visit or call 650-329-2436.